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Building Peace with the 2012 Games – and a song!
an article by Barbara Kentish for Independent Catholic News

The ‘Hundred Days of Peace’ was launched at the Justice and Peace annual day at Westminster Cathedral Hall (UK) on Saturday 15 October. Archbishop Vincent greeted the gathering of around 100 people and led the opening prayer. He reminded us that the schools had had their own launch in the Cathedral the previous week and encouraged us to spread the idea of peace on the streets of London to all parishes. The aim of the day was to empower parishes to plan their own peace events in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

l-r: Fr Joe Ryan, Margaret Mizen and Barbara Kentish (photo from

click on photo to enlarge

Two exciting resources were launched: the first, a booklet of ideas and resources, and the second, a song, specially commissioned for the ‘peace season’. Both are available from the peace legacy website Hard copies of the booklet, and, shortly, sheet music for the song, are available from the Justice and Peace office (4 Vincent Road, N15 3QH).

Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi explained the concept of a culture of peace: remembering peace people in our areas, planting peace gardens, and marking local efforts towards reconciliation, so that war and militarism do not define our outlook. James Parker outlined the opportunities that More Than Gold offered for churches to get involved in celebrating the Games, such as offering hospitality and organising ‘Big Screen’ Festivals. Margaret Mizen of the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, shared with us her memories of her son, tragically killed at the age of 16 in South London by an angry boy, and outlined what she and her husband have tried to do since, in visiting schools and prisons to preach the futility of anger and hatred.

Participants concluded the final liturgy by moving out of the Hall and walking to the St Francis statue behind the Cathedral, to offer prayers for peace for the world and peace for the streets of London, singing the St Francis peace prayer, ‘Make me a Channel of Your Peace’.

Fr Joe Ryan said: "It was thrilling to have a song written specially for our project". Composed by a teacher from Crewe, Matthew Plant, at the request of the Justice and Peace Commission, this was sung and recorded by his pupils at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Crewe. It is likewise downloadable from the Peace Legacy website. Sheet music will shortly be available.

Colette Joyce, the 100 Days of Peace worker, is available to talk to schools and parishes about how they might get involved in 100 Days of Peace activities and can be contacted on


Question(s) related to this article:

Can the Olympic Games promote a Culture of Peace?,

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Concerning the potential of the Olympics to promote a culture of peace, we have received at CPNN the following observation about the 2012 Olympics from Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh.

I was proud to watch the great reception of the South African team which achieved several medals at the Olympics.  They were of mixed background: white and black, and various religions.  The all Zionist, all Jewish Israeli team were losers (and I am not speaking here of medals but of principles) who returned here without fanfare to an apartheid state reminds us that this cannot last.  But I dreamt of living to go welcome at the Lod Airport a winning Palestine Olympics team that includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  I know that this future of one democratic state is coming.  The example of South Africa is worth looking into.  Much struggle remains to be done in South Africa to achieve equality especially in economic issues. But we are long past the days when leaders of Apartheid South Africa met and collaborated in developing nuclear weapons and modes of repression with Jewish state leaders.
. . ...more.

This report was posted on October 30, 2011.